What is the relevance of the concept of residence?
Sometimes when applying for US citizenship or when disproving abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, you may be required to show that you have continuously maintained the US as your residence.
Generally, a person applying for naturalization under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 316(a), must have resided continuously in the United States after his or her lawful permanent resident (LPR) admission for at least 5 years preceding their filing the naturalization application and up to the time of naturalization. It states in pertinent part:
"No person, except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, shall be naturalized unless such applicant, (1) immediately preceding the date of filing his application for naturalization has resided continuously, after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence, within the United States for at least five years and during the five years immediately preceding the date of filing his application has been physically present therein for periods totaling at least half of that time, and who has resided within the State or within the district of the Service in the United States in which the applicant filed the application for at least three months, (2) has resided continuously within the United States from the date of the application up to the time of admission to citizenship,..."
What is residence?
Residence is defined in INA §101(a)(33) as actual place of abode, regardless of intent. This means that your state of mind does NOT matter for purposes of demonstrating residence in US immigration matters. Matter of Jalil, 19 I&N Dec. 679 (BIA 1988).
In this case, the applicant was a native of India and a citizen of Bangladesh. She claimed to have entered the United States on June 14, 1971, under the "G-4" nonimmigrant classification, as the spouse of an international organization employee. She submitted that she had resided in the United States continuously since that date. The BIA disagreed with her and found that a 3-year period of employment in Zambia from July 1977 until June 1980 broke her continuity of residence for adjustment of status under section 249 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The BIA held that:
1. The mere maintenance of assets in the United States, where she did not live, may not be equated with dwelling place in fact.
2. The mere maintenance of financial interests, retention of a house, furniture, and clothing in the United States, and the intention to return at a later time is not sufficient to continue residence in the United States.
3. The BIA additionally ruled that Applicant may well have intended to return to the United States; however, residence is established regardless of intent.
Proving continuous residence
Examples of evidence that may be used to prove continuous residence include the following:
(i) passport pages showing admission or parole;
(ii) arrival/departure records;
(iii) income tax records;
(iv) mortgage deeds or leases;
(v) insurance premiums and policies;
(vi) birth, marriage and death certificates of Immediate Relatives ( IRs);
(vii) medical records;
(viii) bank records;
(ix) school records;
(x) receipts containing identifying information;
(xi) census records;
(xii) newspaper articles about the applicant;
(xiii) employment records;
(xiv) military records;
(xv) draft records;
(xvi) car registrations;
(xvii) union membership records; and
(xviii) affidavits from credible witnesses having personal knowledge. See 7 USCIS-PM, Pt. O, Ch. 4 ¶D
See more here: https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-7-part-o-chapter-4
If you need help with any US immigration matter, kindly contact our office here: https://akpokulaw.com/ or call us on +1 (802) 780 0564. We represent immigrants in ALL 50 states throughout the United States and handle ALL types of US immigration matters.
Akua Ohenetwene Aboagye, Esq.
AK Poku Law, PLLC